Farm Bureau Pushes for Russia Trade

Russia has formally joined the World Trade Organization - but to guarantee U.S. access to the market-opening and legal aspects that are part of the Russia-WTO agreement - Permanent Normal Trade Relations for Russia must be enacted by Congress. The Senate is scheduled to vote on Russia PNTR this week. The American Farm Bureau Federation is urging the Senate to pass the legislation to grant PNTR with Russia. Farm Bureau President Bob Stallman says U.S. farmers will have more certain and predictable market access as a result of Russia's commitment not to raise tariffs on any products above the negotiated rates and to apply international food safety standards in a uniform and transparent manner.

According to Farm Bureau - Russia has a strong capacity for growth in food imports from the U.S. For 2012 - U.S. ag exports to Russia are forecast at 1.4-billion dollars. Russia has potential for significant increases in poultry, pork and beef consumption - which are the top U.S. agricultural exports to Russia. With this potential - Stallman says obtaining PNTR with Russia is even more important. He says Russia's membership in the WTO will provide significant commercial opportunities for U.S. agriculture.

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